Night sweats

Night sweats or nightly transpiration is the nocturnal variant of a hot flush. These affect three out of every five menopausal women. The degree of discomfort varies. Some women have them now and again; others wake up every night drenched in sweat.

How do night sweats come about?

During this transitional period, the body's production of the hormone estrogen decreases. Because of the fluctuations in your hormonal balance, the area of your brain that regulates temperature is disrupted. Your body receives the wrong signal and thinks that you're overheating. Your blood vessels expand to release heat: you start sweating.

Tips for helping you cope with night sweats

  • Use bedclothes and nightclothes made of natural materials: these help release body heat easily and they dry quickly.
  • Sleep in a cool and well-ventilated bedroom, on a comfortable mattress.
  • Don't take hot showers or baths before going to sleep.
  • Try to avoid or limit stimulants. Several stimulants trigger overheating such as spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and smoking.
  • If you like spicy flavors, try replacing heat-inducing spices such as chilli1, with gentle, flavorful alternatives such as coriander and turmeric that have a soothing rather than stimulating effect.

References

1.Meghvansi, M. K. et al. Naga chilli: A potential source of capsaicinoids with broad-spectrum ethnopharmacological applications. J. Ethnopharmacol. 132, 1–14 (2010).

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